@ Elizabeth Southwood
San Francisco, San Jose,
Silicon’s ghostly Valley
looming by the Bay.
Businesses sit empty,
a telephone book’s pages
blow in the wind by a padlocked
doorway, its window black, the chair
in there askew.
Five ladies lunch on Shrimp Louis
inside a nearby restaurant
(which is warm
and smells of bacon.)
Yellow tape outlines rectangles
enclosing sailboats, and motor boats,
the bay water slapping sleek hulls with
soaked candy wrappers and bits
of butcher paper. A cardboard
“For Sale” sign tied to a stern bends in the wind.
A snowy egret chips at a muddy bank
where an orange peel glistens gold.
Five ladies lunch for years
until two of them
move away and one uses a cane
and one a walker. The fifth still
walks and shops and drinks
cranberry juice and soda water.
She tossies orange peels
onto the muddy bank for the egret,
so thin and white,
which remnds her of her daughter.